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Russian Imperial Railway Covered Wagon (39002) 1:35

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Russian Imperial Railway Covered Wagon (39002)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd




In war transport of men, munitions and supplies takes on a new level of importance, and during The Great War the Russian Imperial army benefitted from the creation of many routes that had been ordered into existence by the Czar, who had a liking for them.  This benefit turned to a disadvantage to the Czar during the revolution, as some workers’ unions became Soviets that were part in the bloody take-over of the country that dethroned the Royal Family, to be replaced by the Soviet Union which led to their exit from WWI.   Covered wagons keep the weather out but are more costly to produce, so are used for certain types of goods and not others, especially humans, who don’t react well to the extreme cold of winter or any kind of precipitation.



The Kit

This kit arrives in a sturdy shrink-wrapped top-opening box, and inside are thirty-seven sprues of grey styrene, two small frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet with decal and painting options adorning the covers.  Four of those sprues make up a length of track, which is the standard moulding that MiniArt use for their railway kits, so if you have more of the type they will mesh together to give a longer length of track.  We’re well aware by now of the quality of their work, with excellent detail, engraved wooden texture and sensible parts layout that allows maximum value to be extracted from the sprues, and gives us plenty of options.  The kit shares some sprues with the earlier Railway Gondola kit that we reviewed here, such as the majority of the underlying chassis and bogeys, although the wheels are of one type only.










Construction begins with the central cross-member of the chassis which has hollow two-part timbers and the coupling "root" pinned between the H-frame.  This is paired up with four more cross-braces that hold the two C-section chassis rails in place, with braced U-mounts hanging from the rails to accept the axles later on.  Diagonal bracing rails are added under the bed with the end bars and side brackets, then the bed itself and two side rails are fitted before the assembly is flipped over to add the leaf-spring suspension then finally the axles and spoked wheels, which are a spring-fitted between the bearers in much the same manner as those of a traditional model train.  Each wagon has a total of four buffers front and rear and two hitches, the latter being well-detailed due to the part count, and the eyelets on either side of the hitches have hooks hung on short lengths of chain, which you'll need to source yourself.


The truck walls are simple panels with horizontal planking engraved upon them, to which you add a number of stiffening braces that line up on little lugs at the top and bottom of the panels.  There are also small windows with hinged flaps and PE brackets at the end of each side wall that can be posed in two directions for open and closed positions.  Each end is assembled from wall and end panels, then fitted with two large shelves with cross-braces, plus a narrower angled shelf nearer the ceiling.  Support rails for the roof are added on the sides, joining the two sections together and leaving the door area open.  Additional braces are attached on the corners of the two end panels, and a bracketed timber stretches across the door area, with a PE rail glued into the top to complete detailing of the door rails top and bottom.  The doors have wheels on small t-shaped brackets fitted to the bottom edge that are set aside while the roof is made up.


The roof is a simple lightly curved structure made of two panels with cross-braces that follow the contour of the inside on their top edge, and if you intend to fit the included stove/heater, a hole can be drilled in one of the two marked positions for the chimney to fit through later.  The well-detailed stove is mounted on a PE plate if used, and the long chimney is threaded through the roof with a small weather-deflector on top, then the roof is glued in place.  The sliding doors are then inserted in much the same way as the real ones, head first then lifted so that the wheels rest on the lower rail, which have upturned ends that double as buffers.  A PE bracket for the padlock is glued to the left side of the door, with the staple glued to the frame and lock slipped into place.




The kit includes enough track to place your gondola on with a few inches either side that will come in useful if you are integrating it into a larger diorama.  It is made up from five different types of sleeper with varying grain and ties moulded in and the clamp that holds the rail in place is a separate part for each of the 20 sleepers with two per sleeper.  The rails are in two parts each with jointing strips on each side of the rail to turn the joint into a feature, rather than something to hide.  You'll need to put the groundwork in yourself, but that gives you a lot of leeway to choose something suitable for your purposes and you can choose larger scale ballast from those available for railway modellers or make your own.



There are a generous nine marking options included on the sheet, with most of them in the form of white stencils, a little black and one option with Japanese flag painted on the doors.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • Southwest Railway, Autumn 1915
  • Southern Railway, Summer 1916
  • Northwest Railways, Psov, 1917
  • Moscow-Vindavo-Rybinsk Railway, Summer 1916
  • Siberian Railway, 1916
  • Nikolaev Railway, 1917
  • Ukrainian State Railway, 1918
  • Libavo-Romny Railway, Vladivostok, 1918
  • Captured by Japanese Army, Far East of Russia, 1919-20






Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration (where it happens), sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.




This is an unusual kit from WWI era Russia, but it’s good to see and will doubtless come in useful in dioramas and such like.


Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of




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